HIJACK – Review by Diane Carson

Hijack feeds that adrenaline rush of events unfolding in real time, this one over seven hours. There’s no ticking clock, but time is of the essence after Kingdom Flight KA29 leaves Dubai for London. Within minutes, several hijackers—men and one woman—take control of the plane. it doesn’t take long to establish that on the aircraft and on the ground in London, these terrorists will murder without hesitation. The stakes are astronomical, literally life and death for two hundred plus passengers. Idris Elba elevates the intensity as he charismatically commands the camera.

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EXTRACTION 2 – Review by Susan Granger

If you’re into brainless, mucho macho mayhem, Extraction 2 is 85% action, 15% narrative – meaning there’s lots of fighting, particularly hand-to-hand combat, even though it’s never clear how these ‘ordinary’ Eastern European men can take that much physical punishment and maintain their ruthless bravado. Australian black ops mercenary Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) is still recovering from his previous mission. Reuniting with director/stuntman Sam Hargrave, he embarks on this sequel, tracing its origins to Ande Parks’ graphic novel “Ciudad” from a story by Parks, Joe & Anthony Russo.

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EXTRACTION 2 – Review by Nadine Whitney

Director Sam Hargrave ups the ante in his sequel in every possible manner. The close and hand to hand combat is superbly choreographed and the big action beats are meatier than the first. Extraction had a famous long take one-shot and Hargrave goes one better by having at least two (if not more) with one involving a spectacular car chase. The bombast of the action scenes is admirable, and Nik finally gets her time to shine as an action heroine in her own right.

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THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING – Review by Martha K Baker

It is a maxim of good writing to show rather tell. That rule applies especially to telling stories. But what about a movie based on the art of story-telling? A movie is all about showing — after all, it’s called “show” business. Breaking this rule causes Three Thousand Years of Longing to be sadly mediocre.

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THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING – Review by Susan Granger

George Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing delves into the thought-provoking power of fantasy and storytelling. Adapted from The Djinn and the Nightingale’s Eye, it’s scripted as a cautionary tale by director George Miller and his daughter, Augusta Gore, with exquisite vignettes, exploring themes of fate, loneliness and the universal desire for connection. With superb comedic timing, Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba play off each other perfectly.

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BEAST – Review by Susan Granger

If you’ve ever been on an African safari or dreamed about going on one, the thriller Beast should hit home.
A recent widower, Dr. Nate Samuels (Idris Elba), is taking his two teenage daughters – sullen Meredith (Iyana Halley) and her younger sister Norah (Leah Jeffries) – on a healing journey to the South African savannah where their late mother, a photographer, spent her childhood. Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur works with cinematographer Philippe Rousselot and the digital team to create savage terror as the canny, vengeful beast repeatedly stalks them.

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BEAST – Review by Rachel West

Idris Elba is a desperate father protecting his children from a killer lion in Beast, the latest survival thriller from Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur. Killer animal movies are nothing new and with a quick glance at the film’s synopsis, audiences may wonder why someone who possesses Elba’s acting talent would appear in a movie that screams direct-to-VOD schlock. However, it is precisely his casting that signals there is something more to this story than meets the eye.

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SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Director Jeff Fowler, returning from the original Sonic, frames the brawls between Sonic and Knuckles as a fun twist on those who-would-beat-whom bouts, and the action is easy to follow, even with the fighters’ neon streaks of blue and red. It’s also enjoyable, such as when Sonic dodges beams from Robotnik’s drones like a game of laser tag during a snowboarding chase down a mountainside. Fowler has less success with the wedding humor, but that plot eventually dovetails with the furballs while knowingly nodding at action sequences from other films.

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THE SUICIDE SQUAD – Review by Susan Granger

The action/adventure/comedy The Suicide Squad is perhaps a quasi-sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad, as writer/director James Gunn ventures into the DC Extended Universe, totally re-envisioning the super-villain franchise. Problem is: with little exposition and no character development, there’s no emotional resonance, making it more of a grotesque, R-rated comic-book-turned-video game than a movie.

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